You might have seen this tool called kettlebells, tried it a little bit or even heard about it but not too sure whether you should train with it. Maybe you heard mixed opinions about this tool and you heard some bad things about kettlebells. At our Get Results PT fitness training program such as the 12 Week Leaner Fitter Stronger Challenge or the 6 Week Leaner Fitter Stronger Kickstart Challenge, we used this highly versatile tool quite heavily in our group training sessions although we do include some barbell work. So why do we like these ancient simple looking Russian fitness tool? Here are the 10 reasons why you should consider using the kettlebells.
Kettebell Is A Functional Training Fitness Equipment
When it comes to the buzzword “FUNCTIONAL” fitness training, people think that it’s about standing on a Bosu Ball or sitting on a fit ball. Functional training is not about training on unstable surface. It is about training for the high carryover effects to what you do in everyday life. Unlike the weighted machines you see in a commercial gym, your stabilisers in your joints and core muscles have to work harder with the off-center loading of the kettlebells. So why not train and be prepared for real life situation if your core muscles and stabilisers have to be in use almost 24/7.
Time-Efficient Fat Loss Tool
If you want to hack the fat away effectively and not lose time, kettlebell is what you need. The proper use of the kettlebells work the whole body and trains movement instead of targeting individual muscles group done in conventional bodybuilding approach. When you train movement, it not only has more carryover effects to everyday living you will burn more calories and saves you more time working on more muscles all at one time. Kettlebell quick lifts such as kettlebell swings, kettlebell snatches and kettlebell cleans requires fast muscles contraction. When you contract your muscles fast, there is a preferential activation of the fast-twitch muscle fiber which is 3 to 4 times more energy costly than the slow twitch muscles used in endurance activities such as distance running.
In 2010, researchers in University of Wisconsin, La Crosse Exercise and Health Program did an informal kettlebell training study titled ““Kettlebells: Twice The Results In Half The Time” looking at the energy cost and exercise intensity of a hardstyle kettlebell snatch training program called the Viking Warrior Conditioning. And found that the participants were burning 20.2 calories per minute which is equivalent to the running pace of 1.6km in 6 minutes (6-minute mile pace). And that is a lot of calories burnt per minutes.
Lifting kettlebells being a form of resistance training will elevate metabolism. Improved metabolism and high caloric demand of using the kettlebells are exactly why we used the kettlebells and participants at the 12 week challenge are losing bodyfat with great success. I am sure you can see why we favour the kettlebells. The fact is most people wants to lose fat. To learn how one of our 12 week participants lost 10kg of fat in 12 weeks, go to this Leaner & Stronger in 12 weeks blogpost.
Develop Explosive Strength
A study published in Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research titled “Kettlebell Swing Training Improves Maximal And Explosive Strength” found that Hardstyle kettlebell swings performed according to the techniques detailed in the book “Enter The Kettlebells” can improve explosive strength by 15%. In this study, the participants were swinging the kettlebells for 12 minutes twice a week for 6 weeks for 30 second work and 30 second rest. Do you want more explosive strength? Of course you do whether or not you are a recreational or professional athletes. Who doesn’t want to perform better? If you are into improving athletic performance that requires explosive strength and want to keep things simple, the kettlebells swings can certainly do the job for you without having a bunch of bulky equipment.
Kettlebell Builds Strength
One of the most common so-called downside about the use of kettlebells is that they are not heavy enough. On its own, it is definitely not heavy enough to become powerlifting strong but definitely heavy enough for most people who wants to get stronger for everyday living. The fact is you don’t see many people pressing a 48kg kettlebell (AKA Beast) for reps or even for 1 rep. If you struggle to press the Beast or nowhere close to pressing it, is the kettlebell still too light to build strength for you? Surprisingly, the same Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research study mentioned above found that kettlebell swings improved maximum strength measured in the half squats by 12% with the same 6 week kettlebell swing training routine.
Kettlebell Boost Aerobic Capacity
An ACE-sponsored study titled “Kettlebells Kick Butt” found that training with kettlebells can boost aerobic capacity by 13.8%. Contrary to what many people believe, kettlebell is not limited to building strength. It is an excellent tool for building lungs of steel. If you are after a conditioning workout or want to work your cardiovascular system, the Hardstyle kettlebell swings & snatches will do it for you in minutes. To learn how to perform the swing, click on this Step-by-Step Kettlebell Swing Instructional blogpost.
Improves Core Strength By 70%
The same “Kettlebell Kick Butt” study found that an 8-week training program made up of kettlebell swings, kettlebell cleans, kettlebell snatches and Turkish Get Up improves core strength by 70%. Contrary to what many people, strong core is not necessary six pack abs. The core muscles run the entire length of the torso and are generally made up of erector spinae, external obliques, rectus abdominis, multifidus, internal obliques, transverse abdominis (TVA) and hip flexor. A strong core should be able to contract synergistically to stabilize the spine, pelvis and shoulder girdle when under loading. Kettlebell exercises when done with the right training or coaching challenges the core to do exactly that – Stabilized the spine.
Turkish Get Up (TGU)
TGU is an exercise commonly performed using a kettlebell and it is an excellent stand-alone exercise. According to world leading spine biomechanist Dr Stuart McGill, the TGU is an excellent exercise for injury prevention and performance. Some people hate the TGU and just do not get it why bother taking so much effort and time to learn this exercise. Sure it takes alot effort and time to learn the TGU but it sure teaches me to respect and learn more about my body. You just can’t do the complete Turkish Get Up without being adequately mobile in all your joints and becoming more body aware. As such, you do have to honestly address any issues that stop you from doing a complete Get Up. At Get Results PT, we found the people who are good at the Turkish Get Up hardly ever get injured. TGU is not only great exercise for developing total body strength but may well help you restore and improve the quality of how you move your body. To learn how to do a complete Turkish Get Up, click on this Turkish Get Up Step-By-Step Instructional blogpost or check out this excellent resource on how to do TGU called Kettlebells From the Ground Up.
Kettlebell Is A Great Stand Alone Training Tool
If you got a busy life to run and wants to keep things simple, kettlebell is the right tool for you. Sure kettlebell is not the end-all-be-all but it sure have you well covered. But if your goals is to develop functional strength, improve cardiovascular fitness, developed functional core and lose body fat, the kettlebells can do all that for you. Tell me what else do most people generally train for? Pretty much these are the goals I hear all the times. However, I do feel that having a pull up bar will plug in the gap that kettlebells may not offer in terms of doing pull ups.
Convenient & Reliable Fitness Tool
In terms of convenience and reliability, it is hard to beat the kettlebells. You don’t need a lot of space and you don’t need electricity to power this equipment. In fact, there is very little maintainence work required except the occasional wipe down of the dust on the kettlebells from not using them enough. And if you got yourself a good set of kettlebells, they will outlive you. How trusty can it get? If you go on a road trip and not want to miss training, just bring a few kettlebells with you and you are all set.
Top Strength Coaches & Personal Trainers Used Kettlebells
Top strength coaches, personal trainers & physical therapists such as Dan John, Mike Boyle & Gray Cook just to name a few use the kettlebells in their training. If these guys who are always ahead of the curve in their fields are using the kettlebells, wouldn’t that tell us that there is something about the kettlebells that we should pay attention to? In fact, these top coaches and trainers have somehow used the kettlebells the way strength coach Pavel Tsatsouline & his organisation StrongFirst are using them. To be honest, it is the way you used the kettlebells that make it a fantastic fitness equipment. The kettlebell alone is useless if you do not have the right approach. That’s why we make sure that we do not short-changed our clients by learning from the right source, learn from Pavel the best way to use the kettlebells and implement them in our training at Get Results PT.
If you live in Perth and want to learn the best way to use the kettlebells, do check us out here or click on Perth Basic Kettlebell Workshop.